If cooking or serving a whole turkey seems like an overwhelming task this Thanksgiving or Christmas, or if you simply too busy to organise the bird ahead of time, then these delicious healthy turkey alternatives might just be the better options.
The holiday season is just around the corner, so I’ve decided to dedicate this post to some amazing, non-turkey based edible centrepieces for your festive table. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in for juicy roast turkey but it’s oh-so-predictable and let’s face it…a slightly time-consuming main. Why not try something different this year?
Below is a list of healthy Christmas and Thanksgiving turkey alternatives, including a few vegetarian options, that will be the focus of attention at your dinner party. These are equally perfect for a family dinner or lunch.
Jump directly to a category:
- Thanksgiving poultry recipes
- Big fish & seafood ideas
- Gorgeous lamb dishes
- Festive beef mains
- Crowd-pleasing pork dishes
- Vegetarian Thanksgiving
- Turkey with a twist
Other types of poultry like chicken is an obvious choice after turkey, and although roasted chicken is always a crowd-pleaser, I wanted to include other types of poultry in this category.
This is one of my favourite festive ways to serve whole chicken and my stuffing is all sorts of awesome. If you’re hosting a small gathering or cooking for two, try my Greek-style lemon and garlic roast chicken.
This impressive dish from Eat In My Kitchen makes my mouth water. You can use any other port or fruits to replicate this recipe.
East meets West in this main roast dinner dish from Isle of Flora. You can use any root vegetables in place of potatoes and I think pumpkin or any type of winter squash would work really well with the curry sauce.
I love the sound of this dish from The Saffron Girl as well. Aromatic herbs and spices go really well with duck meat.
This juicy fried chicken with dairy-free creamy garlic sauce is inspired by the famous Georgian chkmeruli recipe. This dish is dairy-free, paleo and Whole30 friendly and would be amazing on a festive table.
Amanda from The Curious Coconut shows us how to make her family’s Thanksgiving tradition – chicken pasteles. This dish is paleo and AIP-friendly.
Garlic & Basil Roasted Chicken with Squash from Anya’s Eats
Apple & Herb Roast Chicken from Real Food With Danna
Paleo Chinese Tamari Honey Glazed Chicken Drumsticks from Paleo Flourish Magazine
FISH & SEAFOOD MAINS
This dish would make a great main dish for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You can use any whole fish in this recipe or multiple fillets.
A tasty, family-friendly sweet potato fish pie is made with delicious salmon, prawns and parsley sauce. Sweet potato is a healthier, more nutritious alternative to regular potato. Great for Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter.
These scallops from Well Nourished are not only delicious (cooked with garlic, parsley and slivered almonds) but they also look sensational, and even though they are on the lighter side, they would be a great platter to have on your dinner table.
For something more adventurous you could learn How To Boil A Dungeness Crab from Paleo Flourish and serve it with some garlic butter sauce.
Roasted Sea Bass Provencal from Relish
LAMB THANKSGIVING DISHES
This recipe from The Domestic Man is absolutely sensational and would be great as a centrepiece dish.
Jalapeno-Pesto Minty Rack of Lamb from Cavegirl Cuisine
Italian Stuffed Leg of Lamb from Gutsy By Nature
Thanksgiving BEEF MAINS
Thanksgiving is all about comfort food and you certainly can’t go past a good Shepherd’s pie. It’s a great opportunity to combine two festive dishes – sweet potato casserole and a meat pie – in one family-friendly dish. You can make individual pies or bake a couple of larger casserole dishes to serve on the table.
Beef brisket cooked as a pot roast couldn’t be easier. Just sear and then cook it in the oven with onions and garlic all afternoon until it becomes fall-apart tender. The leftovers freeze beautifully, too! Recipe from Simply Recipes.
This recipe from Steph Gaudreau looks like a real family affair and the best part – it’s super easy. Paleo and Whole30.
These adorable little ground beef stuffed pumpkins are so delicious! They make the perfect fall main and are healthy and affordable. You can use any type of pumpkin to stuff with the meat filling.
FESTIVE PORK MAINS
And who doesn’t love a good glazed ham!?! Learn how to cook an amazing looking, paleo-friendly Thanksgiving ham from Everyday Maven.
VEGETARIAN THANKSGIVING MAINS
Inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours, these quinoa stuffed peppers are filled with delicious vegetables, spices, nuts and dried cranberries. It’s a nutritious meal that is vegetarian-friendly and gluten-free.
Living in the UK, I got obsessed with nut roasts. I wanted to make a homemade recipe that is both vegan and paleo-friendly. This recipe is made with lots of mushrooms, veggies and mixed nuts, plus a few secret seasonings that make it irresistible. It’s egg-free, dairy-free, legume-free and grain-free.
This vegetarian meatloaf from A Couple of Cooks is made entirely of nuts, rice, mushrooms, onions, herbs, and cheese. Somehow, it all melds into an appearance and texture just like a meatloaf. And it tastes AMAZING. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Sunday roast and more
You can use this fabulous Thanksgiving cauliflower recipe from My New Roots as a template really. She uses homemade Tandoori spice using pretty accessible pantry staples but you could inspiration from other cuisines.
Roasted Mushrooms with Thyme from Paleo Leap
Seed & Carrot Roast Loaf from Trinity’s Kitchen
Sesame Roasted Sweet Potatoes from Pinch of Yum
TURKEY WITH A TWIST
Want to stick with the tradition of serving up turkey but with an added a twist? Try one of these variations.
Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs from Plaid & Paleo
Stuffed Turkey Breast from The Saffron Girl
Do you have a favourite alternative to roast turkey or a traditional family dish you serve up for Thanksgiving? Have a question? Leave a comment below.